Cincinnati Doctor of Physical Therapy Schools | DPT Schools

Potential Benefits of Doctor of Physical Therapy Schools – DPT Schools

Doctor of physical therapy schools typically award a DPT degree, or a doctor of physical therapy, which is required for those wishing to become physical therapists. If you’re a caring person who seeks to help others recover from injuries and surgeries, deal with chronic conditions and ailments, and prevent future health problems, then DPT schools may be a great option for you. Plus, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 34% increase in the number of physical therapists for the years 2014 to 2024.[i] Therefore, this may be a perfect time to earn your doctorate of physical therapy degree! Earning your DPT degree on-campus could help you develop the potential skills necessary to enhance your career through hands on experience and in person training from your professors. Read on to learn more about DPT schools and find one that may be a great fit for you. Doctor of Physical Therapy Schools

Doctor of Physical Therapy Schools: DPT School Basics

A doctor of physical therapy, or DPT, is the standard degree for those wishing to become a physical therapist and earn licensure. In fact, to create a standard of education and allow physical therapists to be recognized as health care professionals, masters of physical therapy degrees are no longer available. [ii]

DPT programs seek to provide students with the skills and knowledge to provide rehabilitative and preventative care to patients so they can remain active throughout their lives and recover from injuries. Students who have earned their bachelors or masters in physical therapy could expect to complete their program with 3 years of full time study. However, some doctor of physical therapy schools may offer a six or seven year program where students could earn both a bachelors degree and a DPT. Program lengths vary by school.


your DPT degree on-campus may have many benefits, especially for such a hands-on profession as physical therapy. Some courses may require working with human cadavers or performing other exercises that may not translate well to online settings. Plus, the social interaction and face-to-face communication with both your professors and classmates may be more intimate in an actual classroom, rather than through online video and discussions. This may help you solve problems in real time and work as a team. 

Did You Know?

Hacky-sack started as a form of physical therapy when John Stalberger was introduced to the simple footbag in 1972. Immediately, he was stunned at how it worked as therapy for his injured knee.

Admission Requirements for DPT Schools

Most doctor of physical therapy schools require applicants to have earned a bachelors degree or a masters degree in physical therapy. Some DPT programs, may also require prospective students to have taken specific courses while earning those degrees, which may include topics like physiology, anatomy, and biology.  Application requirements vary by school, so be sure to read program descriptions carefully and contact DPT schools through their listing for details.

The application process for DPT schools is a bit different than other graduate programs. Many doctor of physical therapy schools accept applications only through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). This helps schools and prospective students conduct the application process more efficiently. The PTCAS allows students to upload their complete application and official transcripts to the PTCAS website for many schools to view. Because schools may have different application requirements, the PTCAS also allows applicants to attach a number of other items, which may include references, GRE scores, TOEFL scores, and signed PT observation hours.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Schools: Common Coursework

To earn a DPT degree, students are typically required to complete coursework, lab study, and at least 30 hours of clinical work. Clinical work seeks to provide students with supervised, hands-on experience as physical therapists, and could be easier through an on campus program.[iii]  Coursework often includes taking science courses and those focused on the human body. These courses may include, but are not limited to:

  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology
  • Kinesiology
  • Human Anatomy
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Orthopedic Pathophysiology for Physical Therapists
  • Biomechanics

Programs vary, so inquire with your preferred DPT schools for details.

Accreditation for Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs

While there are a number of regional accreditations for DPT programs, the most important national accreditation may be the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). That’s because graduation from a CAPTE-accredited program is required to sit for the physical therapist licensing exam.[iv] This could therefore be an important consideration when choosing your DPT program. Accreditation ensures programs meet the increasingly high demands of the medical field and of the public.[v]  It also helps foster an environment that encourages physical therapists to continue learning new techniques and practices throughout their career. 

Potential Benefits of Earning Your DPT Degree

To practice as a physical therapist, you will need to earn a DPT degree from one of many accredited doctor of physical therapy schools and be licensed.[vi] This is arguably one of the biggest reasons students seek to attend DPT schools. Graduation from a CAPTE-accredited DPT degree program may ensure you have an understanding of physical therapy and the various tasks physical therapists perform.

Requirements to Earn Your Physical Therapy License

Licensing requirements vary state to state. However, in addition to having earned a DPT degree, all require you pass the National Physical Therapy Examination, which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.[vii] For a national license, you must also be at least 18 years old and submit an online registration.[viii] 

Individual states may have additional requirements. These could include, but aren’t limited to, providing fingerprints, completing a criminal background check, and taking a law exam. Some states may also require a minimum age of 21 years, as opposed to 18. Check with your local state board for specific licensing requirements.[ix] 

Physical Therapist Careers

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a dramatic increase in the number of physical therapists in the coming years. In fact, for the years 2014 to 2024, there is expected to be a potential 34% change in employment in this field. The baby boomer generation is likely to attempt to remain active as they age, which may require additional physical therapy services. It is also expected that more surgeries could be outpatient surgeries with patients later relying on physical therapists for rehab.i  Why not start your journey to a potential physical therapy career today?

Find the Perfect Doctor of Physical Therapy School for You

You can begin your search for great DPT schools right here. Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about individual doctorate of physical therapy degree programs. This may include specific courses, admission requirements, and faculty. You can also filter your search by location. When you’re ready, request more information to find a perfect doctor of physical therapy school for you!

Sources:[i] | [ii] |[iii] |[iv]|[v] |[vi] |[vii] |[viii] | [ix]

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